Archive for September 23, 2010

Lancaster County Farmer’s Market – Wayne, PA

When in PA, we always make a point to spend a lot of time at the Lancaster County Farmer’s Market in Wayne. Don’t miss the rotisserie chicken. Really.

Gala

Gala

Peppers

Peppers

Chicken

Chicken

Lapp's

Lapp's

More information on the market here.

Longwood Gardens – Kennett Square, PA

Longwood Gardens, in addition to being a tremendous place to photograph, is a special place for us.  We were engaged there, had wedding photos taken there, and have made a point to visit at least every few years. There’s a good deal of variety – woods, flower gardens, conservatory with wonderful collections of orchids and fruit plants. They’ve carefully reconstructed a desert climate. In midsummer (when they’re open later), you can see amazing water lilies that open at night, then re-close in the morning.

In addition to the areas we visit regularly, we explored the forest walks and “the meadow” – both new to us.  ”The meadow” is a huge sprawl of rolling terrain that must be seen to be believed:

The Meadow

The Meadow

There aren’t quite as many flowers in bloom this time of year as earlier in the summer. But the flowers that are there are popular.  Not just with us bipeds, but our six-footed-friends as well.

Hard At Work

Hard At Work

Among a good many bees, I found this little guy. Some type of skipper butterfly, I think.

Sharing With The Bees

Sharing With The Bees

I also happened upon this amazing plant called a snail flower, a member of the bean family.  Impossible to convey through a blog post is it’s amazing scent – a cross between vanilla and Juicy Fruit gum.

Snail Flower I

Ooooo, purply.

Snail Flower II

Ants were a problem - guess they thought it smelled good too...

Snail Flower III

Couldn't get enough of this one

As I was making for the exit (before they shut me in for the night… which I considered letting them do), I happened upon these two having a quiet moment on a bench.

Sitting For A Spell

Sitting For A Spell

Couldn’t think of a better way to end the day myself.

A few more shots from Longwood from over the years:

Orchid

Orchid

Water Lily

Fountain

Orchids, Longwood Gardens

Fuschia, Longwood Gardens

IMGP2837

Water Lily

More info on the gardens: http://www.longwoodgardens.org/

Amish Markets of Lancaster and Berks Counties

Beautiful drive through Lancaster and Berks counties yesterday. We had set out to tour Amish Country, starting in Lancaster, and soon found that Lancaster had been a bit built up in the couple of decades since either of us had seen it. Let’s just say a little less Amish Market, and a little more Target and Walmart.  Only managed so see one buggy with cars screaming around it with zero clearance.  Ok, things have modernized.  This guy’s on a tractor, so clearly not Amish.  Oh, well.

Modern Lancaster Buggy

Modern Lancaster Buggy

After a little on-the-fly googling, we redirected 15 miles or so west on PA 340 to the Bird-In-Hand Farmer’s Market (Bird-In-Hand, PA).  Lots of touristy shops around, but the market itself was pretty neat.  Furniture piled up for sale right next to the seafood market, clothes, candy vendors.

The Wagon

The Wagon

Where's the Horse Parked?

Where's the Horse Parked?

Berries and Limas

Berries and Limas

Pickled

Pickled

Dresses

Dresses

Next stop was Renninger’s Market, Kutztown, PA.  The drive up to Kutztown was a stunning journey through rolling hills and farms, and you couldn’t imagine a more gorgeous day.

Farm

Farm

Scraggly

Scraggly

Left

Left

The place is completely unassuming from the outside, that is to say, the entrance is hard to find because the whole place looks like an industrial storage building of sorts.  Needless to say, you have to sort of guess which of the ten or so doors on the outside is actually the entrance.  The others all go into the back of some vendor’s stall, so I guess the worst that might happen is some lively conversation.

Inside, we found some hearty food and beautiful vegetables. I had some of the best cured meats I’ve ever had.

Concord Grapes

Concord Grapes

Fresh Country Sausage

Fresh Country Sausage

… and then there was this guy, who I met at one of the stalls.  He strained at the leash to come say hello, and it was all I could do to get him to sit still enough for a photo (especially given the low light in the market, and my decided preference not to use any flash.  Needless to say, he stole my heart, and probably everyone else’s within 50 miles.

Droopy

Droopy

Q Center Day 1

Attending a management retreat at the Q Center in St. Charles, IL this week. The grounds are beautiful, and there are lots of great shots to be had.  You know, if it weren’t for the meetings that are the real reason I’m here and all.

A few of us went for a walk down by the Fox River – just a gorgeous, perfect late summer day it was!

Jet Ski on the Fox River

Jet Ski on the Fox River

Fox River Trail - St. Charles

Fox River Trail - St. Charles

Beginning to *Fall*

Beginning to *Fall*

The waterfall behind the main lobby got interesting just after sunset. The white balance in the shot below was just set to Auto – I didn’t know what exactly would come out, except that it would be biased toward blue, since it was just after sunset. I figured I could “fix it later” if necessary…

Left the WB right as it was out of camera – a bit of noise reduction, some sharpening in the still parts of the image, and added some negative clarity in the moving parts. A bit of Lightroom fill light. No HDR processing here – just got kind of lucky with the range.  There are security lights all over the place here, so keeping them out of the frame at 11mm was a challenge, to say the least.  I was on a bridge above the little creek pictured, and had to raise the tripod up high and point the camera down at the scene to avoid at least 3 of them trying to creep into the scene and confuse the heck out of the light meter (that’s right, no fancy exposure calculations in my head or otherwise – this is just what the meter gave me).

Actually, it’s even luckier than that – the D90′s meter in any of the shooting modes except manual  just “pegs” at 30 seconds when there’s not enough light (the big clue is that the shot is clearly not the “average” luminosity, the meter is going for – that of an 18% grey card, for example).  If you want more than 30 sec, you have to go to bulb (manual mode) or use some kind of external camera control (like tethering software). At least it’s kind enough to tell you how much it’s underexposing using a 30 second shutter speed, which is plenty of information to go on without an external meter.

Waterfall

Waterfall - 30" f/14, ISO 200

.:.

The main entrance to the Visitor Center

I had noticed the first night I was here that the pond looked interesting around twilight.  Good thing I always carry a “spare” tripod in the trunk, just in case.

The Flagpole

The Flagpole - 30" @ f/8, ISO 200

And I am occasionally rewarded for lugging a wide angle lens around every day.  Heavy, but handy – especially since the “walkaround lens” on my camera is a 28-105 w/ macro.  You can get pretty stuck on a crop sensor with a hard stop at 28mm. Though I did add some selective saturation and luminance adjustments, ran these through NoiseNinja and did some basic post in Lightroom, the colors are pretty much straight out of camera.

Both are from 3-frame bracketed HDR sets (Photomatix) – base at around +2EV, then +/-1EV, give or take.  After the fist set, I stretched the longest exposure a bit (multiplied time by 3 instead of 2 – about +1.5EV if I’ve done my math right – which would be miraculous, given how much sleep I’ve had this week) to see what might come out. I used plain old matrix metering on the camera to measure the base exposure, set the shutter to bulb and timed the exposures by second-hand (had to run under a nearby streetlight, since I neglected to pack a flashlight for this trip – normally in my bag at all times for just this reason!).  Conveniently, said streetlight was throwing a bit of extra light on the lilypads in the foreground, though somewhat unevenly in the second shot.

#1 below was shot at 30, 60 and 120 sec and #2 at 15, 30, 90 sec, both at f/8, ISO 200.

Pond I

Pond I

Pond II

Pond II

Later on, I may try to search out some critters.  I saw a couple of bees of various types buzzing around the flower gardens, and a wonderful little jumping spider (I think – I’m no expert on all the various 6 and 8 legged creatures) – all furry with 4 great big eyes. Crossing my fingers!